Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Castle of the Week: Cawdor Castle

Welcome back to another Castle of the Week post! This week's post was written by guest author Paisley Kirkpatrick. Paisley is a Celtic Hearts chaptermate of mine. Enjoy!



Cawdor Castle
by Paisley Kirkpatrick



We spent a couple of hours exploring both the gardens and the interior of Cawdor Castle, set in the parish of Cawdor, ten miles east of Inverness, Scotland. The fourteenth century tower house belonged to Clan Calder and continues to serve as the home of the Cawdor family.

On the way into the parking lot, we had to stop to save the little hedgehog. I'd never seen one before and thought it was cute.  A huge tour bus readied to leave the parking lot at the same time as we wanted to enter. I was afraid the little guy might be squished. I jumped out of our car, held up my hands to stop the bus and dashed to the little critter's aid. I earned a wide smile from the bus driver and a few thumbs up from his passengers.

Even the parking lot was clean and framed by beautiful trees and shrubs. Being the middle of October, the trees graced the area with their various oranges and yellows.

For many years it was thought the castle was built around the year 1454. The belief now is that it was built as early as the mid-1300s. An older, crumbling Cawdor Castle needed replacing, and William, 3rd Thane of Cawdor, set out in search of a replacement location to re-construct Cawdor. The story is that William rode his donkey through the nearby countryside. Cawdor was built in the exact spot where the donkey laid its head in rest. Cawdor was constructed around a holly tree that stood where the donkey stopped. Results of testing determined the holly tree died in 1372, suggesting the castle was first built before that date. Ironically, it might have been starvation of sunlight due to the construction of Cawdor around the castle which eventually killed the holly tree. I vaguely remember there is a tribute to the tree in one of the circular rooms. It's been five years so that memory is fleeting.


This original structure would have just been a large four-story tower, or keep. The castle was expanded several times throughout history, mainly in the 17th and 19th centuries. The gardens at Cawdor Castle include a walled garden, originally built in the 17th century, a flower garden, built in the 18th century and a wild garden, built in the 1960s.

Tourists have a chance to walk through the living area of the castle. It appeared to still be lived in and felt quite cozy. Next to Eilean Donan this was my favorite castle to spend time exploring. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Dusty bearded men in miner's boots and faded shirts, gamblers in fancy vests and frock coats, a ghost or two tossed in for good measure -- these are the characters who come to life on my pages. Mix them with strong, independent women of the Gold Rush era who delight and tempt their heroes to take a chance on love and, voila, it's romance.
My husband of 43 years and I are fortunate enough to live in the Sierra Mountain Range of California where this colorful time in history took place. Exploring gold mines, inspecting the stately historic homes, and traveling through tunnels zigzagging underground stirs my imagination and brings reality to my stories.

To write and create has always been my dream. Joining Romance Writers of America twelve years ago opened the door to achieving what I was born to do.

Visit Paisley at www.paisleykirkpatrick.com/

31 comments:

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I loved sharing these photos. It was fun to remember the time we had there. I love castles and, as you know, I love all things Scottish.

Thanks for inviting me today, Eliza.

Amy Jarecki said...

Beautiful photos. I loved the draw bridge. I wonder what it was like to live in the keep in the 14th century...aside from ccccold!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks for coming by to see the photos. Appreciate your support. We had such a good time in Scotland.

Miriam Newman said...

Nice post and photos!

Vonda Sinclair said...

Wow!! I was so excited to see this post. Awesome photos, Paisley! This is a castle that I haven't visited but I want to very badly. It looks so beautiful and amazing! Now YOU are making me "homesick" for Scotland, Paisley! :) Thanks for sharing!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks Miriam. I an more than ready to go back.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

We were staying in a fabulous B&B at Inverness when we took the day trip here and Culloden, Vonda. The inside of the castle was homey were the family lived.

:) about being homesick. I know the feeling well.

Ana Morgan said...

Thank you for this post! The photos are fantastic. I am so happy I was able to "take a trip" this morning.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I'm happy, too, Ana. Any time you can spend in Scotland is great. Toss in a castle or Gerard Butler and I am as happy as can be. ;)

Susan Macatee said...

Beauiful pics, Paisley! It's been many years since I visited Scotland, but your photos bring back the memories.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks, Susan. Didn't you just love all those beautiful castles!

Isabel Roman said...

I love that castle! It's beautiful and so full of history. I think you took some of the same photos I did--the gardens, the archway bridge. No tree? Or what's left of it.

Marlie Bridges said...

Beautiful photos, Paisley. And the accompanying history is fascinating. I've always wanted to go to Ireland and Scotland, so these photos might push me to do so.

Marlie

Fraoch said...

The Cawdor family built the castle but the current Earl of Cawdor is a Campbell- Collin R V Campbell. The Campbell's in about 1510 thru some machinization that only a Campbell can pull off, were in control of the female heir of the Caldor family and she married a Campbell and from that point on the Campbells of Cawdor have owned the estate. Though interestingly enough the Campbells of Cawdor were conspicously absent from siding with the Government in the 1745 Jacobite uprising. According to Burkes Cawdor Castle is the seat of the Campbells of Cawdor. Colin's stepmother is Angelica "Cawdor" but she is a Campbell by marriage to the 6th Earl of Cawdor. As with most clans and families in Scotland they may start out as one clan but because girls could inherit Scottish titles often the name of the clan/family who held the castle would change with the birth of her first son.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks for stopping today, Isabel. It is an interesting place. Loved those gardens.

Yes, you must go. The 23 days we spent in Scotland make me want to go back.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I cannot recommend Scotland enough. It is the most beautiful place I've seen. I'd go back in a heartbeat. Glad to see you here, Marlie. :)

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks for the great history on the castle, Jody. We love having you around to learn all these interesting facts. Appreciate you coming by for a visit.

Celia Yeary said...

I've never seen a castle up close--only from distances--in Germany.
But I have taken a tour through your beautiful photographs, so I almost feel like I've been there. Thanks for the trip!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Awww, that's nice Celia. I adore castles and the treat of getting to go inside is beyond a dream come true. Thanks for visiting.

Angela Adams said...

Hi, Paisley,

Awesome pictures! Thanks for sharing.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the photos, Angela. :)

Linda LaRoque said...

I enjoyed your pictures. My husband and I have always wanted to tour Ireland and Scotland and visit the castles. Maybe one of these days.

I'll have to take a look at your books. Love historicals about the gold fields.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thank you Linda. I hope you do get to travel there. It's the most wonderful time imaginable - at least it was for us.

J. Morgan said...

Great blog. Loved the history and the pics. But, where was Nathan Fillian? Kidding, maybe.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Nathan who??? :) Thanks for taking the time for a visit, J. Morgan. You always brighten my day.

Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks so much for sharing these with us, Paisley. I poured over each one, trying to soak up details. I'd love to visit there sometime.

Alina K. Field said...

Beautiful pictures, Paisley! The only thing missing was one of Gerry. :)

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Waving Vonnie. How nice to see you here today. I am glad you liked the photos. I love sharing them. It was funny that my hubby told me I was taking too many photos. He took over the camera and really took a lot more than I would have imagined. I do hope you get to Scotland some day. It is a piece of heaven.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Gerry is always close by, Alina. ;) Glad you enjoyed a touch of Scotland.

Catherine Chant said...

Beautiful pictures, Paisley! I love visiting castles. My husband is British so whenever we visit his family in England we always try to find a new castle or two (or three!) to visit. One of our favorites is Uffington Castle, which is really more of a big hill, but it has a white horse carved into the ground and the views are just spectacular! For a castle with "walls" I loved Corfe and Bodiam. :-)

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Lucky you getting to head off to the British Isle. I've always loved castles. Thanks for saying hi!